Want a Super Safe Luxury SUV for Your Kids? Buy Them a Lexus or a Buick

It might seem crazy to buy a luxury SUV for your teen driver. After all, teenagers are inexperienced behind the wheel, so giving them an expensive machine and hoping that they don’t ding it can be pretty stressful. Yet there are some instances where spending the extra money on a high end vehicle makes sense. For example, luxury sport utility all vehicles tend to come standard with an array of important safety features. That alone might be enough to convince you that a luxury SUV is actually a good investment for your child. If you want to consider buying your teenager a luxury SUV, there are only two luxury SUVs that made the cut: the 2022 Lexus UX and the 2022 Buick Encore GX. Here’s which specific trim levels are safe enough for teens and what you’ll pay for it.

A white 2022 Lexus UX against a white background.
2022 Lexus UX | Lexus

The 2022 Lexus UX is the safest luxury SUV for teens

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The 2022 Lexus UX – with Triple Beam LED Headlamps with Auto-Leveling – is one of the safest luxury SUVs, according to the IIHS and Consumer Reports list of Safe Vehicles for Teens. The 2022 Lexus UX has all good IIHS crashworthiness scores. It also has superior safety systems, which is the highest rating safety systems can get. However, the Lexus UX has two available headlights with different safety ratings. While many UX trim levels have good headlight ratings, several have poor. Because of that, the only Lexus UX safe enough for teens has with Triple Beam LED Headlamps with Auto-Leveling.

The 2022 Buick Encore is great for teens

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Another luxury option for your teen driver is the 2022 Buick Encore. The 2022 Buick Encore GX has pretty good safety ratings. Most of its main crash test ratings are good, while only a few subcategories ratings are acceptable. Yet there’s one area where the Buick Encore GX falls short, and that’s the headlights. There are two headlight variations for the Encore GX, and neither of them are good. That’s important, because it separates the Encore from earning the Top Safety Pick+ award.

One of the two headlight variations on the 2022 Buick Encore GX are acceptable, while the other are just marginal. Considering that more than half of fatal car accidents happen at night even though there are far fewer vehicles on the road, you want to have good headlights. Because of that, the IIHS and Consumer Reports say that the Essence Trim is the only one safe enough for teens.

How does an SUV make the list of the safest vehicles for teens?

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In order to be one of the IIHS and Consumer Reports’ recommended vehicles, the SUV must be either a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+. To win a Top Safety Pick award, a vehicle must get a good rating in all six crashworthiness categories. It also must have front-crash prevention systems with advanced or superior ratings. At least one headlight system out of all available has to be acceptable or good. To win the coveted Top Safety Pick+ award, a vehicle must have good or acceptable headlights standard on every available trim level.

In addition, they must have average or better reliability, emergency handling scores, and be able to brake in less than 140 feet from 60 mph on dry pavement. Controls must get a rating of good or better, and they can’t have a super high insurance claim rate under medical payment or personal injury protection coverage.

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